Photos courtesy Leslie Bradshaw
Summertime in Northern Ohio means only one thing and that is the annual running of the The Wanda/Akzo Nobel Blue Suede Cruise. This year marked the 13th running of this grand event and Summit Motorsports Park is the only place in the nation that can pull it off. Whether you’re on the grounds to show or to go, you will find entertainment for your entire family and this weekend’s weather made it absolutely perfect.
The Nostalgia Drag Racing League held its third race in the 2014 IAM Championship Season headlining the event and the racing could not have been any better. A NDRL record 86 cars took to the track for qualifying was fast and the numbers came fast.
Quick Fuel Technologies PRO GAS cleared qualifying first and it took Ohio native Kurt Neighbor taking his first lap of the event to take and hold the number one spot with a .002 lap on his C/G. index. NDRL members Mike Shahan, Rob Davis, David Conover, and John Treesh (running .018 over) rounded out the top 5. This was the tightest qualifying field for this class this season. Semifinal pairings found Dave Mullin taking his ’37 Chevy Gasser to the finals over Chuck Owen and his beautiful ’70 Camaro. Kenny Robinson and NDRL Champ Sam Patrick left together with Robinson nosing Patrick at the stripe and advancing him to the finals. Robinson carried that momentum and throwing the Ford fans a bone by taking the early advantage and holding it down track to take his first NDRL event win.
PRO COMP had similar results as the qualifying was tight and Canadian Brian Bourne showed the rest of class who is boss as it took him one round to drill out a dead on 9.006 lap to cover his C/C index and earn the bye for round one. Ed Kasicki, Earl Rozhon, Rusty Vaughn, and Chris Guarnere (.033 over) rounded out the top 5. Semifinal pairings found Tim Reis getting a competition bye as Glenn Lever failed to make the call due to mechanical issues. Don Nave was on the other side of the semis taking the bye to set the final. Reis left first but was on the wrong end of a double breakout handing the win to Nave.
PRO 7.50 found familiar faces in familiar places. The pride of Island, KY Pat Freels, took his ’66 Pontiac to the top of the heap in the third session slapping John Bartos 7.507 lap to the side running a 7.502 to take point. Derek McCuistion, Pat Malloy, and Wayne Sears rounded out the top 5. Semifinal pairings has defending champion Sears taking out Brandon Anderson and McCuistion taking the win over Bartos. McCuistion did not stop at the semis and drilled the tree taking the advantage from the hit and holding it to take his first NDRL event win.
Ross Racing Engines PRO 7.0 was the finale of the program all weekend and it was truly a case of saving the best for last. Defending Champ Larry Harlen rowed the gears on his Anglia to run a 7.036 and take the number 5 spot and you did read that correctly. Billy Smith swung for the fences early and knocked it into the next county running 7.004 on his first lap. Justin Malott tried for it but took his FED to a 7.007 to hold onto second. Mark Vaught was third (7.022) and Dana Glick was fourth (7.032) rounding out the tightest top 5 spots ever. Semifinal pairings found Malott dragging Vaught off the line but Vaught closed the gap and took the win. Smith and Robbie Freels were the lone pair with Freels leaving first but busting his index (-.014) to Smiths 7.048 advancing Smith to the final. Vaught was amped and left first but early (-.026) to Smiths .020 handing Smith his first NDRL event win. Smith was on a mission and the worst lap in eliminations was a 7.072 and he was killing some on that one.
The next event in the NDRL-IAM Championship Series will be the Briggs & Stratton Hot August Nights at RT.66 Dragway in Joliet, Illinois on August 16th.
As always, we would like to thank all of our loyal sponsors and racers as without them we would have nothing. IAMAW, Quick Fuel Technology, Briggs & Stratton, Ross Racing Engines, ET Genie, Hot Heads Research, Sexton-Wilbert Vault, DJ Safety, Renegade Race Fuels, Saldana Racing Products, Moser Engineering, Howards Cams, Deist Safety, Competition Products, Freedom Racing Engines, Wood River Auto Parts, ScottRods, Vintage Racing Supply, and Shorty Rader Racing.
Onboard Video With The Freels Motorsports 7.0 and 7.5 Machines
Ross Racing Engines PRO 7.0
W- Billy Smith 7.037 / 187.16
RU- Mark Vaught 7.209 / 177.14
W- Derek McCuistion 7.512 / 177.49
RU- Wayne Sears 7.535 / 172.50
W- Don Nave 8.486 (8.50) / 154.21
RU- Tim Reis 8.959 (9.00) / 140.04
Quick Fuel Technology PRO Gas
W- Kenny Robinson 10.015 (10.00) / 128.26
RU- Dave Mullin 8.575 (8.50) / 157.23